Meeting Expectations

Week after week I sent out emails and heard nothing….sold nothing….taught nothing and by the end of December, in a tantrum, left social media and did nothing. Meeting my expectations of failure.

Previous “calls to action”, for sales, were met with crickets OR someone dropping off my email list. A sad state to be sure. There were even crickets when I offered to come to *your* home and teach a class or show and sell my work…. GAH!

Among many thoughts, there was one belief that I seemed to hold on to:  “See, I’m not good enough.” Even work I was selling for 50% off – which I never do – stays posted to the site, unloved to this day.  *boo hoo*

Logically, I know, my work is not for everyone. And “I must not be good at anything”.

There is that wonderment too, “did people who liked my posts . . . said out loud in the store….lie, when they said they loved my work?” Those that ‘heart’ a post in Instagram, were just mindlessly double tapping?

It’s not like *I* never lie. I lie all the time. I say I’m “fine” when I’m not, I still get “sick” to avoid social interactions/gatherings, I still use the “check is in the mail” line with bill collectors . . . I mean do they really wanna hear the story of how I got in the fix I’m in?!

Some how, some lies feel like I’m “saving people from my drama”.  My life does feel dramatic at times.  Those same, seemingly innocuous lies, have cost me dearly through my resistance to reach out for help. Other times, it’s felt like reaching out for help is just “here we go again, Delia, with your drama”. Other times, I have these exasperated thoughts of, “It’s not like I have nothing to give in return . . . they must not really like the work.”  I dunno where the balance is, or if there is one.

Long ago, I decided to be as “authentic” as I could be. Avoiding ‘tantrum/desperation speak’, I frequently tell y’all, what’s really on my mind and how things are going. I have a pretty Popeye take on that . . . ‘I am what I am’. It’s been suggested that I’m too TMI. I’m unsure of the balance there, as well.

I do know know that I don’t enjoy lying or pretending any more. I am an Empath and an Intuitive . . . it’s not good for me.

My messaging of late, has been pretty clear. I am a jewelry artist and metal clay arts instructor. Even with forays into Lyft driving….THIS is what I do for a living. THIS…..this making and teaching thing….it’s how I keep the lights on, food on the table, the internet working, the pets fed, keep my car….and occasionally get new underwear. You can ask me about the pitfalls of Lyft driving if you’d like, and I’ve been out of the “job” market since 2002.

I’m good at it . . . making and teaching I mean  . . . ”but am I really?” I hear in the back of my mind. “If I’m so good, why don’t people buy stuff or sign-up for a class.”

This is not a complaint . . . this has never been a complaint. A plaintive whine, maybe, but never a complaint. 🙂

I logically know, that people get busy and not everyone shops online or likes to take classes online. “But am I good enough?”

Who would know….when I was having a tantrum and doing nothing. It is a little like the chicken and the egg.

The inability, however, to gain enough players for an in-person class is why I don’t teach at Otis. The inability to gain enough sales to pay my rent at Crafted, is why I am not at Crafted. I was just not able to handle all the *things*, financially and pay rent, when the sum total of sales, from January and February were about $100. I get $1000 a month in “support income”, my expenses without Crafted are about $1600. I still kept at it, hoping to realize that dream of successful self employment . . . ever shrinking, with the thought that “clearly, I must not be good enough.”

Logically, I think too “out of sight, out of mind.” If I wasn’t sending emails weekly and not at Crafted any more . . . no one *sees* me any more, right?!?!

“But other artists do it. It’s me, I’m not good enough.”

I doubled my efforts on Instagram/Facebook and dove into SEO strategies. I’m still kinda drowning in the sea of SEO mis-understanding. I remember a time in the mid-nineties, when one could simply “put-up” a website and VOILA, sales and marketing handled. I did *that* for a living, for a while. It’s far more complicated and the the internet gawds, are far less kind.

It dawned on me this morning, that the lack of sales, and community over the “holiday period” had caused me to shrink and retreat, deeper, into a familiar hallucination: I. am. not. good. enough. I also, frequently hallucinate that many people would just prefer that I get “a real job”. I’ve been *fighting* that belief for a very long time. I started this jewelry arts journey in 2007 and still haven’t let go of that hallucination.

I’ve been here before. I’ve shared this story with many that know me, and I’ll share again.

In the summer of 2011, my world, pretty much, blew up. My business, then Phoenix Designs, was “dead in the water” as I saw it. I closed the proverbial doors. I felt so certain, that I just wasn’t good enough to make it as a solo-preneur.  People weren’t buying and I was tired of shows in the dirt.

I ended my 23 year marriage, which had been on the “brink” for 4 years, and my husband moved out, my children were angry and two weeks later, my sister passed away. I was a crispy fried human.

About the first week in September of that year, I stepped into my shop one morning to get something. I hadn’t been in the shop in a couple of months. When I went in, I could not remember why I went it. As I panned the room for an answer, I saw my work area, looking all lonely with several random projects incomplete. I sat down, I began working and about 8 hours later, I stepped out of the shop, with seven new pieces ready for the kiln and a series of overwhelming thoughts, “You can’t quit. You don’t get to quit. People need what you offer. . . . and what time is it and where is Devon (my youngest).” Dev was ok and it was 7ish. 🙂

“The Victoria Rose” An homage to my sister, that I created, that day in 2011

A friend, once referred to this story, as my “burning bush” moment – LOL. I feel fairly confident that while maybe not so dramatic as a burning bush, this was *my* guides suggesting that I keep moving forward. Yes, I believe in spiritual guides.

So I did. And as some might say, the rest is history, and I’ve been up against *it* again.

This morning was a new moment, in which I realized, that I must ignore my hallucination that I am not good enough and forge ahead. I must also ignore that *you* expect failure from me (and want me to get a real job). What *you* think is ultimately, none of my business – unless its is in regard to a custom piece 🙂

I say “ignore” as in push-aside, make irrelevant, acknowledge but give no power to,   versus “forget”, because I know me well enough to know, that I won’t “forget” a belief I’ve had about myself, since childhood. I can treat it like a crack in a sidewalk and walk around it, and not let it trip me up.

I went through a similar epiphany this September and disclosed challenges I have with depression. It was scary to be that vulnerable. Nothing caught on fire.

WHAT is it, about September.

I suppose one could say I’ve been depressed, again, what with being in a state of “tantrum” and all.  I suppose that’s true. Although this felt a little different.

Everything I had been working on, as to how my thoughts control my reality, was deeply challenged and I’ve felt “dead in the water”. It was the worst “holiday season” in sales, that I’ve experienced in 6 years. I’d been meeting the expectation that I will fail, by giving up – and proving my reality. “I fail and am no good.”

I don’t know all the answers right now and I’m clear there is no instant “fix”.

I know that I am not as far down the well, as I have been in the past.

I know, that doing nothing, will change nothing, and back on track with some consistency will move me forward.

I also know, without question, that I will not quit . . . any more. 🙂

So I am not . . . quitting, that is.

I really don’t want to quit! I still have dreams and goals to realize, and a world to adorn with pieces of meaning that help create community/tribe, and a world to teach, the value of creativity, and working with our hands, for healing, clarity and joy.

Life is good, it always is. It’s my response, that can be problematic.

Much Love and Light

 

 

 

 

PS. The store is open with those 50% off pieces, still available 🙂 I hope to post some new work next week. Also, I am still available to teach online and in your home.

 

 

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Zircon – A December Lovely

From Geology.com. Check out their site, interesting article on Zirconium

In the Middle ages, thought to bring sleep, and drive away evil. In Victorian times, used in English estate jewelry. Zircon – GORGEOUS Zircon, is the birthstone for December

. . . and never to be confused with cubic zirconium or CZ as it is known. Zircon has been confused with diamonds as well, due to it’s “fire” and particularly, white Zircon.

Zircon comes in several colors: white; blue; yellow; brown; green; orange and golden colors. Blue and white are the most known. And did you know:

Some zircons—usually green ones—display much lower values for these properties than others. Scientists have determined that the crystal structures of these gems were almost completely broken down by radioactive elements—often present in zircon as impurities—that damaged the gems’ crystal structure over long periods of geological time. https://www.gia.edu/zircon-description

It’s radioactive . . . there’s a song there somewhere. It’s nothing to be alarmed over, it is how it grows in in environment, with trace amounts of uranium. https://www.gia.edu/gia-faq-zircon-radioactive

I’m a fan of mostly blue,  white and golden or brown color. I recently found some – yummy. Since I don’t have a permanent marketplace to share lovelies with you all in person, I created an eBay store for the stones from The Vault.

In ’92, my father started a gem and jewelry business, mostly sapphires. I worked with him from ’94 – 2001, which is when he decided to retire. The stones from “The Vault”, are those from that business.

Also:

Zircon:

  • Provides spiritual protection
  • Energizes all chakras
  • Assists in overcoming depleted energy
  • Encourages the ability to recognize and receive spiritual guidance
  • Assists in cleansing toxins from the body, it can be used to assist in withdrawal from tobacco, sugar, caffeine or other harmful substances

https://crystal-cure.com/zircon.htm

So WOW…why not a Zircon.

Turquoise is considered the alternative, recently, so was Tanzanite.

AND the gems I have and sell, have been ethically sourced and fairly traded. I have some issues with the ways in which some folk have run roughshod over others, in order to take from them. Please, if you buy Turquoise, buy it from Native distributors/crafts person/artisan. Turquoise does not keep growing…it’s not renewable. Please give a look at this article: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/3/6/international-run-on-turquoise-gives-native-american-artisans-the-blues.html.

Tanzanite… well that’s just sad. The Tanzanite market has been pretty much taken over by De Beers, or as it is being referred to, “The De Beers Model”. As the story goes, there was concern about smuggling and stealing and people started dying and so since De Beers was so great at stopping smuggling and stealing of diamonds (seen “Blood Diamond”?), guidelines and procedures they had created are being adopted. whew . . . I’ll say no more, it upsets me.

My online store, housed here, from this website is brimming with lovelies, both with and without gemstones. You can also see and purchase various natural stones I still have available from my eBay store – phoenixmagyk-dmt.

For all the December babies . . . you have choices. I think the best ones are Zircon, with it’s variety of colors . . . like Sapphire.

 

Be Well,

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Imperial Topaz

A little known fact. Imperial Topaz is the birthstone for November – not Citrine.  Because imp-topazof the rarity of the color variation of Topaz, many commercial jewelers have convinced people that their birthstone is Citrine or that Citrine is the “alternative” birthstone. It’s less expensive and easier to find. To further the sales boom, retailers are suggesting that any color of Topaz will be okay, and blue is pretty inexpensive.

I am all about saving people money, AND as an artist that creates adornment of meaning, I’m going to say….go with Topaz . . . and blue is okay.

While pure topaz is actually clear, Imperial Topaz is orange or yellow. It can also  be found in a pink color, but only very, very rarely. Did you know that blue Topaz is irradiated to get that blue color?

Large deposits of topaz are actually, naturally found in the USA! However, Imperial Topaz comes only from Brazil, which makes it more rare and costly, although some recently-discovered orange and pink topaz in Pakistan, is being considered “imperial” as well. Topaz is an igneous rock, which means that it’s formed by cooling magma (yep, we’re talking volcano-stones here, people)!

“How did certain gemstones become associated with the months of the year? Experts believe that birthstones can be traced back to the Bible. In Exodus 28, Moses sets forth directions for making special garments for Aaron, the High Priest of the Hebrews. Specifically, the breastplate was to contain twelve precious gemstones, representing the twelve tribes of Israel.

Later, these twelve stones were likely also linked to the twelve signs of the zodiac. Eventually, they also became associated with the twelve months of the calendar.
https://wonderopolis.org/wonder/how-were-birthstones-chosen-for-each-month

That wee bit of history is why I think it’s a good idea to stick with the birthstone associated with your birth month. There is some ancient energy here and you will gain the most from the alignment.

If you’re a bit stagnant right now in life, an Imperial Topaz piece might be helpful. The wearer or holder of an imperial topaz stone can perhaps expect the following:

Encourage self realization and confidence
Impart strength to quiet wild emotions
Banish bad dreams
Bestow charisma on its user
Topaz draws love to its wearer

Healing properties of Imperial Topaz:
Stimulate the appetite
Aid in nervous exhaustion
Activate life force and metabolism
http://www.minerals.net/mineral/topaz.aspx

Activate my life force? Yes please!

Here are some additional resources of information on the stone and it’s history:
https://www.healingcrystals.com/Imperial_Topaz_Articles_30.html
https://www.ajsgem.com/gemstone-information/imperial-topaz-91.html
https://applesofgold.com/jewelryblog/2009/11/the-real-november-birthstone-citrine-or-topaz/

Next month we’ll talk about Zircon – blue . . . which is the birthstone for September, not blue topaz 🙂

Be well,

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SAPPHIRE . . . awesome sapphire – September’s Birthstone

I swear to ZEUS, that I created this post on Friday . . . I forgot to hit “Publish” 🙂 And it’s just as well. I had some additions.

Sapphire has been identified in about 450 color variations. Experts in the field of gemology have identified color variants and placed different value on them. For example, “cornflower blue” sapphire . . . which is a softer, brighter, blue is valued higher per carat than the very dark, almost “black” sapphire that many of us are used to seeing. The above pictured sapphire (I nabbed from Gem Select) is .72 carats and sells for right around $400 per carat. Various shades of pink sapphire are valued differently depending on the in intensity of the color . . . pale pink is valued from $50 – $75 per carat, whereas very saturated hot pink runs in the neighborhood of $150+ per carat :). Sapph.92ct136.40 The pictured pink sapphires weigh .92 carat in total, AND they are smallish and palish. They are selling for roughly $148 per carat.  Also included in pricing is the cut, shape and size. Smaller sapphires might go for less per carat, no mater how pretty they are. Check out this link so see more of what I am talking about.. http://www.gemselect.com/search/search.php?search=sapphire

I’ve been excited to see a movement towards color stones in engagement and wedding rings 🙂  You just know how much I love non-convention.

Sapphire is also a 9 on the Mohs harness scale. Which means it is pretty hard. Sapphire grit is often used to polish diamonds. It freaks people out when I say this, AND sapphire is more durable than a diamond – there is no natural cleavage 🙂 Sometimes a sapphire has “twinning planes” (where crystals grow side by side) – which under very stressful situations or heat, could cause a sapphire to break. This is a factor of “bad” sapphire . . . in other words, most in the field can see it right away in an “included” stone and avoid stressing that stone or pick another one.

Here’s what GIA has to say about the stone http://www.gia.edu/sapphire.  Did you know that is what is in Kate Middleton’s ring . . . from Princess Diana.

You know, too, that I am a super-fan of this material and it’s synthetic version.

Lab created RainbowOutShadesapphire is virtually indistinguishable from the natural stone. Having the same mineral and chemical components, were it not for it’s size and “clean”, even color, even a GIA Gemologist has to put it under a microscope to really be sure.

I have a collection of faceted, lab created Sapphire. It’s a great price for the budget thoughtful. Just ask me for a price sheet.

Metaphysically, Sapphire is associated with prosperity, life force and energetically attracts joy and peace.  Sapphire also assists in opening the mind to beauty and intuition.  Sapphire is a stone of wisdom, with each color containing its own unique energy vibration and information.

I have often added Sapphire with the Rune “Thurisaz”.  There are differing ideas on what this Rune means. My interpretation has been and remains that a trixster is at work in my thurisaz-100x100energy field and it’s a good idea to use my energy towards the positive. I recently saw a post on Facebook  . . . a lovely photo with the caption: “The temptation to quit will be greatest, just before you are about to succeed.”  These are the moments when I thrown on my Thurisaz Rune with it’s lovely, lab grown, blue sapphire 🙂  bf27203fa9bbaab7086fe24656e0b02b

I also add Sapphire to the “Wisdom” chop.

 

Is Sapphire your birthstone? It’s my son’s stone 🙂  It’s also how my father started out in the gem and jewelry business.

He and his wife Janice had taken a trip around the US.  On their travels they, on a lark, mined some sapphires out of the Eldorado Bar and Rock Creek areas of Montana.  My father had been a rock-hound for years and was most impressed with the stones they found.  The next thing I knew, they had a business; were selling faceting machines and THEN heading to Sri Lanka to not only collect some of the most amazing sapphires, but to also start the cutting business. That was the trip that I was “babysitting” the biz . . . and pretty much haven’t looked back since right?!?!

From The “Vault”

I have a large stock of various Sapphire on hand, from the US JEM, INC days. Below are two sets of Rock Creek, Montana Sapphire pairs. I’m putting these in the store for $35/carat. They are practically vintage, having been mined in the late 90’s 🙂 I have more pairs, so be sure to send me an email if you want to see pictures. They work great in earrings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is your favorite color? How do you wear it?

Sign-up for my newsletter and learn more! Cruise the site – learn more! Order a fine silver adornment . . . you know you want to!

Much Love and Light!

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Handmade works have value and resonance. They bring a good feeling to your soul, they represent how you want to be in the world . . . don’t let that representation be “cheap” and uncaring. Treat yourself well and buy handmade from an artisan. Treat the artists you know well, and support them by buying from them and recognizing the value of their time and intention. – Delia M. T. 2014

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. . . more of my authentic self. Why I’ve Been “Missing” For Two Weeks

There’s been a convergence of *things* that have created my overall silence on social media platforms.

I don’t talk about it a lot. I once thought it would be so “anti-business” to say out loud. The older I get, the braver I get, and the more I recognize that I am not alone.

I get anxious and depressed – for many years now. I’m pretty clear, that I am not a “unique snowflake”.

The two conditions, simultaneously, in one day or one week, used to really debilitate me. Current events have exacerbated my challenges. I am sensitive to many drugs and have an addictive personality, and as such, I have chosen not to take meds. I’m by no means, anti-meds or a masochist – if it would work, I would do it. Not taking meds requires my needing to be quiet when I cycle through depression and anxiety on a Defcon 5 level – which is what the last two weeks have been. I’m doing the things I need to do to take care of myself and the clouds are clearing.

My anxiety and depression manifest in many ways. Lately I’ve been overwhelmed with that weird stuff: “I can’t imagine trying to sell anything to anyone RIGHT NOW!!!! Trumplestilskin in the White House seems hell bent on our destruction. It’s all very scary. Who wants to buy a lovely NOW?!?!?” I’ve been afraid y’all would dislike me if I tried to sell you a lovely.

Yet, when I step out of my door, I am reminded that despite events, people still go to work, people still have to pay the bills… and so do I. THIS is what I do for a living. It’s not a part-time hobby and I am not independently wealthy. It’s how I pay the bills, it’s how I eat, feed my child and feed my pets. So, I’m going to keep trying to sell you my work and I will keep teaching and offering online learning opportunities. It’s really a win-win. You get adornment that resonates for you and perhaps helps you feel spectacular, or you get time to learn and create and heal and center through that process, – and I get, along with great honor and gratification, a “paycheck” that allows me to live. See! Win-Win. Also, I could get more ant-repellent, because honestly, this is getting ridiculous. So please buy things… I need ant repellent and food 🙂

I’ve been feeling low energy, a little unmotivated, a lot fearful (see above) and a huge amount of “empty”. It’s not just depression and anxiety.

For 23 years, this time of the year, represents endless hours of preparation for my children to return to school . . . earthquake kits; 15 pages of forms; a few new clothes; finishing up summer reading, and that annual trip to Staples. I had a break in 2015 and last year was a whirlwind to Canada.

I’m empty this year – except for the body and energetic memory 🙂

My eldest, long since graduated in 2007 hasn’t required, needed or desired my input since then. My youngest, is living at home, and will not be returning to college in September.

I think I really understand “empty nest” now, more than I ever did before.

I also realized that the end of August and through Labor Day, has really been my New Year. I have for 23 years slowed to a bit of a crawl on some things and been focused on my children’s new beginnings and just naturally made that time part of my new beginnings.

I have NEVER done “spring cleaning”. I’ve always done a refresh during Labor Day weekend.

I have, since at least 2007, started writing my vision for the new year around my work.

Since 2012, it’s been a time of year where I am refreshing and reorganizing tools and supplies for upcoming teaching gigs.

It’s about now, that I am thinking about holiday offerings of my jewelry work – sketching, planning – plotting how to inspire you to buy from me for your gift giving.

August is traditionally a quiet time all around, as many folk fit in their last get-aways, and if you have children, you too are preparing for a new year.

Happy New Year. I’ve never been one to adhere to a lot of traditions of the mainstream 🙂

Clouds are clearing and there is work to do, on the horizon, both socially and personally.

Much Love and Light,

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Hi, my name is Delia and I am a Racist . . . and working on it.

Image courtesy of: http://www.unurth.com/Jerm-IX-Anti-Hate-Vancouver

You know me as a a mother, an artist, a teacher . . . a solo-preneur. Perhaps you’ve heard me speak of progressive ideals and maybe even perceived me as a fierce champion of the disenfranchised. It’s all mostly true, however on my path of self discovery and spiritual growth, I understand myself to be a racist.

I don’t have a “personal” Blog space. I am the sole owner and creator behind Phoenix Magyk. There is no “Royal we”.

While I am keen to make adornment of resonance, sell those adornments and teach the art form, I believe that the life I experience, informs my art, influences the custom work I do, and how I relate to others. So this is me . . . my authentic self.

I believe that being positive is way better than being negative, that fear is the opposite of love and that hate is fear manifest. However, I’m not so high in the clouds of spiritual enlightenment that I miss what needs addressing in a firm way.

This might be clumsy, I’m doing my best. Before I get started on my story, I just want to be clear about a couple of things.
I SUPPORT Black Lives Matter
I SUPPORT Anti-Racist Groups
I SUPPORT Anti-bigotry Groups

I STAND against White Supremacy
I STAND against Nazis
I STAND against White Nationalists

I’m sending love and light to Charlottesville, the injured and to the families and friends of Heather Heyer and the Troopers killed in the helicopter crash – Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, and Trooper Berke M. M. Bates. I’ve also been following the story of Deandre Harris, the black man, pummeled in a parking garage. Much love to you Deandre.

What happened in Charlottesville was horrible. I felt helpless, hopeless, horrified and scared. I’ve spent the last couple of days figuring out what I can do more of, to be a part of the fight. I believe that all of us with like ideals have a responsibility to speak out and condemn such hate. My personal feelings or my story aren’t necessarily part of any solution, however I’m reaching out and coming out of my closet. I am confident there are white people out there like me.

I was born in Glenridge, New Jersey, to immigrant parents. My father was from Greece and my mother, from Spain. Both of them had come to the states as children with their respective families. During the 30’s and 40’s, immigration in to the states was a “cool” thing. People came from all over and were welcomed by the Statue of Liberty and promises of living the “American Dream”.

What I have known is what I grew up with. There was very little connection to my parent’s origins, shared in our house. It is my greatest sorrow, that I know so little of where they came from and what their lives were like. I know, there is always Ancestry, right? And what I know from my growing up, is that my immigrant parents became “white”, with all the associated privilege that comes with it. Why? Because, I think, it was practically mandatory.

When immigrants came to America’s “melting pot”, it was understood, that one would become an American. People, who came to the states, would learn English and American customs and become “American”. Cultures were maintained in small enclaves and in homes. One reason was the systemic racism that existed at the time. It just seemed smarter and safer to become “American” than to do anything that drew attention to yourself or your culture of origin. I believe this concept has been seen over and over again, starting with WWII, when the Japanese were robbed of their possessions and placed in camps. Clearly, we “Americans” learned nothing from what we did to the Indigenous peoples.

There is a lot of historical information about this, and I’m not going to share it at present. I want to get to my point 🙂

We moved to Texas when I was 3 y.o. It was a very small town. I do not remember EVER seeing a black person there. When I was about 6 y.o. we moved to tiny suburb outside of Houston, and I don’t have any memory of meeting ANY person of color. I do remember that my mother made a HUGE deal of us not speaking Spanish, IN or out of the house any more. Until then, it was the only connection I had to her culture and history. My father never spoke Greek and never encouraged us to learn.

When I was about 13 y.o. we moved to a different suburb in Texas. It was during my years there, that I experienced racism. I had no idea what I was experiencing then. I was told that my fellow young humans were just “mean, just ignore them and they’ll go away”.

My skin was pretty brown, and my hair was super curly and “white people” really could not determine if I was a light skinned African American or Hispanic. I was called names and bullied a lot . . . until I found ways to defend myself by trying to look tough, in jeans and t-shirts and boots. I also learned to yell loudly – the best defense was a good offense. I was called the “N” word and “spic” and other racist slurs. I still shudder a bit when I recall.

I remember, after a confrontation with some girls, I asked my mother “What ARE we?” Firmly and clearly, she said, “WE are AMERICANS and that’s all you need to know”

I used to think that statement was a badge of courage. I have come to understand over the years, that it was a badge of fear . . . and protection.

My mother felt that in order to protect us from getting beat up/killed, we had to ignore any identification or demonstration of our heritage and so we were raised “white” and throughout my life, I have experienced the privilege that comes with it.

I was never overtly taught to hate any one or any group of people. I was raised by and around people who believed that people of color were “those people” that lived on “the other side of the tracks”, and other racist stereotypes. I did not know that those were racist ideas. I also don’t remember being taught to “love everyone”. There was never a conversation about race in our home. What I learned was a covert white supremacy. Racism that is insidious and rampant unconsiously.

We moved to California when I was about 16. I was still in the white world I’d grown accustomed to. I knew nothing of other people’s lives.

My parents were “old school” Republicans . . . fiscally conservative and socially, centrist/moderate. I had a clear sense that “white” was good and anything else was not really important.

It was in my early 20s that I started to meet people that weren’t white and I began to understand, that my thinking was all wrong and I became a “new-age Democrat”. I moaned and groaned about Republicans and felt horror and outrage over news reports of the KKK violence . . . and those “crazy Black Panthers”. I was a bleeding-heart, liberal, racist. I still didn’t get it and I did nothing.

If you had said that to me at the time, I would have most certainly begun to cry and defend myself. I.just.did.not.know. I was ignorant.

From my 20’s until about three years ago, I lived an ignorant life in which I was pretty certain that I was not a racist and what is this “white privilege stuff people keep talking about?” I felt certain that because my life was not comparable to “rich white people”, I was in the clear and in the trenches with the disenfranchised. I was very wrong.

Despite having very few conversations in my home with my children about race and bigotry, they have made their own way and have solid, anti-racist positions. I’ve learned a lot from my children, and I learn more everyday.

A real turn-a-round in my growth and awareness came when both my children slammed dunked me for saying “But gee, don’t all lives matter.” To which I was promptly informed that I did not “have a clue” and I was “trivializing the oppression that the disenfranchised have been experiencing their whole lives!” and most striking at the time “If a white guy got pulled over, this would not happen!” They were right.

I’ve been pulled over for broken tail-lights, expired registration, and once because a car that looked a lot like mine had been reported stolen. NOT once was I ever yelled at or was it demanded that I get out of my car. I once piled my little Honda under the tail end of a semi truck on PCH, while drunk, and they never even asked for a sobriety test . . . I was 17 and crying uncontrollably . . . but c’mon.

Once, while pregnant with my eldest, on the way to a camping trip, we got pulled over. I don’t remember why. We had an ax on the floor of the passenger side. We had just picked it up from a friend on the way out of town. As soon as the officer saw the ax, we were commanded out of the car at gun point and I was forced to “spread eagle” across the hood of the car, while my husband was at the back of the car. I was 6 months pregnant and fairly huge. I recall my fear and subsequent outrage. There had been several incidents of pulled over drivers, having attacked officers.

What became startlingly clear for me in remembering that story, is the understanding that while I got away with yelling at the officer, the African American community cannot risk it. I think of Sandra Bland and Eric Gardner and so many more lives ended, for an effort to stand up for themselves, to comply . . . at the hands of racist officers.

I’m not a victim here. I understand that through my ignorance and silence, I have been complicit in perpetuating racism and bigotry.

I am reaching out, doing more learning, asking questions and boosting signals to help people of color and other disenfranchised groups, be heard, which as a cis-white woman is something I’ve learned I can do.

There aren’t two sides. “Reverse racism” is not a thing. Activists, if feeling threatened, have a right to defend themselves.

For over 200 years, people of color, especially black Americans, have been treated differently . . . discriminatoily . . . cruelly . . . unfairly, and in so many instances, with deadly force. Black people have been lynched, burned, and scorned, in ways that no white person has had to endure, with perhaps the exception of Holocaust survivors. Black people have had to fight an upstream battle, at every turn.

I thought I understood what that meant, but I didn’t. For my lifetime, I have not had to fight for the right to go to school or the right to a particular job or the right to vote. While my life hasn’t always been sunshine and roses, in comparison to people of color and the many more humans that are rejected on a daily basis, I’ve lived a fairy tale life of privilege.

Nazis are not dead and they are not done. They are coming after anyone that does not look like them or believe like them. They are attempting to speak on our campuses and recruit angry, young men, with the lure of power through supremacy. Their stand on woman is equally as evil as their stand on race and certain religions. They are organized and headed across the country. Allowing their views to be propagated is dangerous. Banging the drum of free speech is a dangerous, slippery slope. They are terrorists and their intimidation and power grab must be stopped. Even in Germany, they destroyed symbols of Nazism to begin their healing. We can never erase history, however, it has been said “Those that cannot remember the past, are doomed to repeat It.” – George Santayana

Silence will allow them to move forward. I implore you to speak out and speak up.

I cannot speak FOR the disenfranchised. I can participate in actions that assist. I can boost signals. I can be aware of my own words and my own privilege and call it out in others when I see it. I can go to rallies of resistance and persistence. I regularly try to educate people on Facebook ;P

If we’re going to stop this force of evil and yes, I did say that . . . Nazis are evil – if we can’t help them change their thinking, I’m all for shoving them back into the holes they came out of, until such time as they are ready to listen to the truth.

I see unity coming in the collective group of those of us who condemn such ideologies of hatred. These are not “opinions”. They are trying to take American away from it’s efforts in tolerance, acceptance, love, community and a fundamental shift in system.

My point? I have a couple. Racism and bigotry begins at home – don’t teach it. Do a little soul searching and understand your own racism and where it came from. Acting from “white guilt” is less useful than acting from courage and compassion. Don’t be silent. Speak up. See something, say something. If your grandpa is still making circulating jokes about Asians and they way they drive…and maps and cameras, ask him to stop, tell him why and give him a new joke to share.

Here are some resources that I found super useful, maybe they will be of value to you.

Showing Up For Social Justice – places to meet up with liked minded

http://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/affiliated_groups_local_contacts

Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide | Southern Poverty Law Center

https://www.splcenter.org/20170814/ten-ways-fight-hate-community-response-guide?inf_contact_key=3643f940942276e889e1b2eb40edf93ef8653c12b4f79190eb04fa3e3422f136

Erynn Brook, “White Feelings: 0-60” A great speed view on what people like me do/can do after events like Charlottesville and honestly want to help/assist/fight against racism. Silence is being complicit:

http://www.erynnbrook.com/white-feelings-for-charlottesville/

Paula Rothenberg, “White Privilege”. https://www.amazon.com/White-Privilege-Paula-S-Rothenberg/dp/1429242205 This is absolutely a mandatory read, and a great resource for anti-racist learning and education on white supremacy in liberal spaces.

And here are some great resources for talking to children.

http://www.parenting.com/article/5-tips-for-talking-about-racism-with-kids

http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/the_kids/2014/03/teaching_tolerance_how_white_parents_should_talk_to_their_kids_about_race.html

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-charlottesville-talking-to-kids-20170812-htmlstory.html

Much Love and Light,

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July & August Birthstones

big ruby 04Ruby is the birthstone for July. It is also a corundum, like Sapphire, so it is a hard stone and durable – a 9 on the hardness scale.

Highly prized for it’s color and rarity it is also a pricey stone. For good color material and very clear stones, it will cost you about $800+ per carat.

It is also rich in history and lore – for example, did you know that Rubies are mentioned 4 times in the bible?

indiamart.com

image courtesy of indiamart.com

Here are additional articles to learn more. It’s really fascinating.

http://www.gia.edu/ruby-history-lore

http://www.gia.edu/ruby

The wearing of Ruby can also be beneficial energetically. I use it as an empowering stone, representing passion and grace. It’s a “power” stone.

Read more here:

https://crystal-cure.com/ruby-gem.html

2015-08-08 16.38.57

As many of you know I am a big fan of lab created Ruby. I really appreciate the price break.

Ruby can also be embed or set, in your metal clay work.

 

palagems

image courtesy of palagems.com

Peridot is the birthstone for August. What a rich color of Olivine it is. It was for centuries confused with Emerald – people believed the 200-ct. gems at the shrine of the Three Holy Kings were emeralds – when in fact they are Peridot.

Learn more here:

http://www.gia.edu/peridot-history-lore

http://www.gia.edu/peridot

It is about a 7 on the hardness scale and a bit more durable than quartz – less abrasion over time.

There is no lab created version of Peridot. There are plenty of simulants like CZ colors that look similar to Peridot. It can be fired in place in metal clay – at lower temperatures.

Considered by early Christians to be a sacred stone, Peridot is a “spiritual” stone known to bring a sense of lightness and centering. You can learn more here:

http://crystal-cure.com/peridot-gem.html

If you have any questions about these stones . . .comment below or send me an email.

Be well . . . make something everyday, even if it’s trouble . . .

Much love and light,

IMG_4386

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Just a Bit on Alexandrite

http://www.ajsgem.com/gemstone-information/alexandrite-17.html

http://www.ajsgem.com/gemstone-information/alexandrite-17.html

Alexandrite is the birthstone for June.

I have a couple of links for you to check out on this marvelous stone. To summarize: Alexandrite is the color change variety of Chrysoberyl. Legend has it that the man who discovered Alexandrite, in the Ural Mountains of Russia, named it after Tsar Alexander II – which I suspect was a you-better-have, kinda thing.

Aside from Russia, Alexandrite has been found in Brazil, Tanzania, Sri Lanka and Madagascar – not Mexico. From the start of lab grown corundum (sapphire) – the color change variety was passed off as both natural Alexandrite and lab grown Alexandrite – so be thoughtful when you purchase.

There really is a lab grown synthetic Alexandrite – having the same mineral and chemical components as the natural material. Although I have no natural Alexandrite, I have lab grown material available at $60/carat and simulated (color change corundum) at $20/carat.

In this picture it's raspberry color :)
Lab grown Alexandrite. In this picture it’s raspberry color 🙂
custom jewelry, magyk custom work, ring, fine silver adornment

A ring I made for a client last year. There is a lab created Alexandrite and a lab created Emerald

“Alex” is said to aid in healing some physical illnesses.  Contemporary practitioners of crystal healing have agreed that it may be helpful in treating challenges of the spleen and pancreas and possibly regeneration of neurological tissues. Don’t eat them though. Please go to a practitioner for guidance and usage. 🙂

Alexandrites are also great for energetically promoting self-esteem and appreciation of the world around us. The stone can assist a person in developing “inner energy changes” which correspond with intention. Alexandrites will aid in centering yourself. Again, don’t eat them, WEAR them 🙂

Here are the links, I promised:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysoberyl

http://www.alexandrite.net/chapters/chapter8/index.html

Lab grown Alexandrite is also fire-safe in fine silver metal clay, at 1470. BONUS!

Much Love and Light,

IMG_4386

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Fun Facts About Emerald

Emeraldlogo519

Image courtesy of Sparkle N Dazzle Gems
http://www.sndgems.com/emeraldeducation.htm

The Luxurious May Birthstone

Did you know that Emerald is a Beryl and is included in the top 4 list of precious stones? Aquamarine, the March birthstone is also a beryl.

Emeralds are the green variety of beryl, a mineral which comes in several other colors that are sometimes also used as gems, such as aquamarine which is blue, heliodor which is yellow, morganite which is pink and colorless goshenite.”

Emerald is the birthstone for May babies 🙂 wink wink – that would be me.

And this from Crystal Cure: “Emerald is a stone of great harmony, wisdom and love. Giving your lover an Emerald will bring the lover closer if the giver’s motives are pure love. The Emerald can be a bridge between 2 people. The Emerald vibrates with love.”  https://crystal-cure.com/emerald.html

Love, wisdom, harmony . . . all associated with abundance which the energy of Emerald is all about really.

I personally love Emerald, and would still love it even if it weren’t my birthstone, however, I am more appreciative of synthetic (lab grown) emerald versus natural emerald. LabEm Ears grown material is exactly the same as the natural material – except it has no carbon spots, gas bubbles or other inclusions.

Synthetic emerald can be fired in place, in metal clay, whereas natural material cannot because of it’s inclusions. BONUS!

Folk ask me all the time, too, about the energies in a natural emerald versus a synthetic (lab grown emerald).  When playing with natural stones of any kind, remember this: natural stones carry historical energies from where they were found and much of the energy of all who have touched them since – CLEANSE YOUR GEMS/and crystals.  If you happen upon a stone that was born/dug up near an ancient burial site, for example, be extra diligent.

Since the mineral structure of a synthetic emerald is the same as a natural emerald, it will carry energy….but not from where it was born – that environment is pretty clean. It may have some energy from those who have touched it, before you did, however that is pretty transitory. When I sell synthetic emerald, it’s been cleansed and discharged, so that it may be charged by it’s new owner 🙂  Hope that clarifies things.

BTW – an “inclusion” is material within a stone that ‘marks’ it. In the case of emerald, it naturally has carbon spots, gas bubbles and other markings in it from it’s growth process.

Emerald is an 7 – 8 hardness, which is close to Sapphire, however, I do not recommend it for rings or bracelets, because it can get abrasions and possibly fracture, from wear.  It looks lovely in pendants or earrings, and as Cleopatra would have it, in a crown 🙂

Did you know that it is also difficult to cut to avoid shattering? And that the most prized Emerald, comes from Columbia?

Much Love and Light,

IMG_4386

Other resources for information on Emerald:
http://www.gia.edu/emerald-quality-factor
http://gem5.com/stone/43/emerald/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beryl
http://www.healing-crystals-for-you.com/emerald-stones.html

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New Adventures Await . . .

Hello Lovers of Lovelies and those that love making them 🙂

I have decided to move out of my store space at Crafted. Right off the bat, I want you all to know that this does not mean that I am “quitting” or shutting down my business. Quite the contrary in fact!

I am still available for custom work, and in the coming days there will be a gallery and shopping cart on the site, here, for you to see work and buy work. I will also be going back on the road at assorted shows, so stay tuned.

I will also continue teaching – however, classes for the balance of March are cancelled and the dates for April are on hold until I find that perfect space to teach them in. By the way, if you have suggestions, I’m all ears. It’s still in my “master plan” to move to the area.

There is a part of me that sad. I will miss my every weekend interactions with those of you that come often to Crafted, as well as my fellow artisans. It’s quite a diverse group and it’s always fun to talk about life, the ‘verse and everything.

I will treasure a great deal, all my experiences for these last 4…almost 5 years. If you are new to my site, I’ve had a ‘heart-space’ at Crafted since the doors opened in 2012. I saw the building before it was refurbished . . . I have been witness to the ebbs and flows and growing pains and incredible celebrations. I met incredible clients and phenomenal artists. I have seen artists and staff come and go, and now it’s my turn.

From the perspectives of my art and my understanding of making art my business, I have grown up at Crafted. I have learned so much. I’ve experienced a wealth of support and encouragement, I have laughed, cried, danced and slept at my desk – made things and taught things. It has been a tremendous joy (most days 😉 ) to be a part of this community

What a ride!

It’s time now for me to experience new wild rides and experience other places and other people. I’m not leaving anything behind . . . just moving forward . . . towards, new growth and expansion.

If you know me, you know I have ideas already, however nothing I’m ready to share just yet 🙂 AND please know that I am still here, still making and still teaching.

Reach out if you have questions. concerns, or a need for a lovely.

I hope you will join me in celebrating the unfolding of new adventures. Thank you for all your love, through purchase, kind words and playing in classes. I look forward to seeing you on my new road(s), I will definitely keep you posted.

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